Nieuws - 23 maart 2010

Bridge cordoned off in protest against study grant cut

Several tens of Wageningen students - armed with pens and petition forms - occupied the bridge at the Forum last Monday to protest against a possible budget cut in higher education.

Banners with slogans such as 'red de stufi' (save the study grant) and 'No to budget cuts in higher education' flapped above the bridge, a large part of which was cordoned off by red ribbons and bicycles. A protestor, fist clenched and arm raised, yelled through a microphone: 'Keep education affordable for everyone!' Five students called out to approaching cyclists to sign a petition. The protestors also drummed up support for a country-wide bicycle demonstration to be held this coming Thursday in The Hague.
The Wageningen Student Organization (WSO) and Comité SOS are behind this protest action. Their aim is to draw students' attention to the current situation and to collect signatures for the coming elections. 'We're going to show the government what the voter wants', says SOS spokesperson Pascal ten Have. 'Education is an entitlement. Everyone should be given the possibility to study, regardless of whether she's a mother on welfare or a multi-millionaire. Instead of budget cuts, we should in fact invest in education. Its returns will eventually pay itself off,' says Pascal.
Passers-by reacted differently to this move. A number of speeding cyclists tore through the bicycle queue with scowls on their faces, ignoring requests to sign the petition. A protester was almost knocked over by a student yelling 'I'm going to be late!' On the other hand, many passers-by were keen to do their part. 'Well done', shouted a girl and smiled as she cycled off on her small rickety student bike after signing the petition. In a display of signatures, about four hundred students have shown that they are against a budget cut in higher education.
The WSO and Comité SOS Wageningen call out to all students to turn up at Ede-Wageningen train station on 25 March at 12 noon. From there, Wageningen protestors will travel together to The Hague to take part in the country-wide bicycle demonstration against the budget cut, under the motto: 'A student has nothing, except his bike'.